Now, we here at TPOL understand that there is nothing new about theft – even government thieving on a massive scale. It’s been around as long as there were things to steal, and people with no moral compass.
And we also know that our readers understand stealing things is, in the bottom line, a violation of both the Golden Rule (as taught by Jesus) and the Zero-Aggression Principle. Even if the person doing the stealing is doing so to sustain their own lives or that of their children or others in need. (A moral distinction we understand some will reject.)
But the daily headlines and social media topics show that (a) thieving continues to be a growth industry, and (b) the rate of growth seems to be climbing, both in what is stolen and who is doing the stealing. Again, this has happened in other periods of man’s sordid history – the early 21st century is not alone. But we are living now, so it is reasonably important for us.
More and more people are getting robbed blind, of more and more things, by more and more people and organizations.
It isn’t just money, of course, even if the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (an accurate English rendering of the apostle Paul’s warning to the evangelist Timothy). Sometimes it is things or services that can be sold for money – or used without paying for them. Or people’s time. Or (beyond the scope of THIS commentary) it is not material things, but elements of liberty, of freedom, or life itself. Whatever is stolen, it is something that the thief, the robber, the con artist (whatever we call them) has no moral right to. Even in societies and cultures which bizarrely do not recognize the idea of personal ownership of some (or all) things, there is still generally a recognition that stealing is wrong. Immoral.
BUT individuals can make it to physical maturity (if not really “adulthood”) without being taught and shown that stealing, theft, even “borrowing” something is wrong. Clearly, some individuals who ARE taught this basic (even fundamental) truth of nature and society choose to ignore that teaching and go out and steal. Sometimes they believe SOME types of stealing are wrong, while others are okay.
Clearly we have many of this type around us in the Fifty States and the world today.
Many of us have both chuckled and thought about the truth of this cartoon:
Certainly, one of the excuses used for massive theft in our era is that it is somehow legal and moral for governments to steal money – called taxes – to support themselves, provide them power, and do other immoral things. Some (including some libertarians) have argued that often “organized crime” – the mob, the Mafia, etc. – is more honest and steals less than government. Especially when you look at the payout from the numbers racket compared to government-run lotto and other gambling. To say nothing of other vices furnished by the private sector criminals as contrasted to government criminals.
But back to the theft problem.
A recent headline in CNS News reminds us of this: Americans Spent More on Taxes in 2021 Than on Food, Clothing and Health Care Combined. Democrat, Republican, Progressive, Conservative, Liberal, Green, etc. They all steal money.
Outside of “government” we see that the most powerful institutions of our modern society are the greatest thieves almost all the time.
Banks, for example, with their fractional reserve banking systems (credit as “money”) are hideous examples. Activist Post recently reported that the US credit card rates have hit the highest on record in almost 30 years: an average of 18.03%. Their excuse is the Fed raising rates. While the massive amount of credit card fraud (theft) and failure to pay off loans (including credit cards) (again, theft) supports and to some degree justifies high interest rates, this is just another example of theft – on a massive, organized, “free enterprise” scale but with full government support and compliance.
But these sorts of theft – massive and pervasive as they are – are only a part of our world’s problems robbing people. Retail theft from businesses is estimated to be $42 billion per year in the United States alone. That is a very specialized kind of theft, of course. Add to that billions of dollars in car theft, billions and billions more in theft from homes and vehicles, theft by business employees, theft by government employees (from government agencies, not for government), and we are talking trillions of dollars just in the States. Daily we see and hear of thefts of this and that – seemingly constantly increasing. And that is only what is reported!
Why? First, as we touched on earlier, a lack of teaching and training: raising people to supposed “adulthood” without teaching basic morals. Of course, there are millions of people, many responsible for teaching, who do not believe that theft is always wrong. Second, a lack of accountability and responsibility. While supposedly governments are supposed to protect their citizens from crime like stealing, more and more don’t even try: look at California’s refusal to prosecute anything less than $1000. People can and do steal and constantly get away with it. Third, the example to people of governments, big (and small) businesses, and other organizations and their agents stealing almost anything and everything. Governments (especially the FedGov) no longer publish the wrongdoers: indeed, they often ARE the wrongdoers, and reward other wrongdoers.
As John Adams observed, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” But the Constitution itself allows immoral actions and called them good. So today, many of the people of these Fifty States reflect the immorality of their governments. That must stop, if we are to correct this situation.
So why do we bother to keep government around? Just something to ponder.